EATON — This Sunday, July 2, during the annual Old Fashioned Independence Day Celebration at the Preble County Historial Society, three Preble Countians will honored as the newest members of the Hall of Honor.
Individuals to be honored are Col. Charles M. Hendricks, Clarence I. Kesler and James E. Quinn.
In celebration of its 40th anniversary in 2011, the Preble County Historical Society (PCHS) created a Hall of Honor. The PCHS Board of Trustees designated that the Hall of Honor be named the Sara Swartsel Hall of Honor in recognition of the heritage and philanthropy of the Swartsel Family as demonstrated by Sara’s gift to the Preble County Historical Society and the Preble County community of her family farm in southeast Preble County.
The Register-Herald joined the PCHS as co-sponsor of the Hall of Honor in recognition of the natural partnership of the two organizations in recording the history of Preble County every day. This annual process provides each entity with many opportunities to collaborate publicly on the project in ways that promote the value of each entity to the residents and businesses of the county.
On Sunday, the Hall of Honor inducts its seventh membership class. Criteria for inductees chosen state inductees must be deceased and have lived in Preble County at some point in their lives; they must meet one or more of the following requirements: have been outstanding in achievement in agriculture, arts, professions, politics, public service, education, or sports; or have a reputation that brings honor to the county, or personal commitment and service to the county; or had a lasting impact on the county.
The groups will honor the 2017 inductees and their families with the dedication of plaques in their honor at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 2, at The Amphitheater at the PCHS.
Colonel Charles M. Hendricks, M.D. 1877 — 1953
Charles Hendricks (formerly Hendrix) was born and raised in Preble County and experienced a typical life on his family farm. He went off to Miami University where he majored in football! Eventually he pursued a medical degree at the University of Cincinnati which enabled him to continue to pay football!
His medical career was influenced greatly by the death of his younger brother and best friend Arthur to pneumonia. He decided to devote the rest of his life to the study and treatment of respiratory diseases. He graduated in 1905 and received a prestigious internship at the National Jewish Hospital for Tuberculosis.
Hendricks married Edith Duguid shortly before leaving Eaton for Denver. His search for a place to set up his practice led him to El Paso, Texas, a center for treatment of respiratory diseases. He established his private practice in El Paso and became director of the Albert Baldwin Sanatorium.
With World War I on the horizon, Hendricks enlisted in the U.S. Army Medical Corp in 1917. He was assigned to the 90th Infantry Division from Texas and Oklahoma. The Division became an expeditionary Force and was sent to France with Hendricks serving as Captain and Chief Medical Officer.
During his military service, Hendricks made some of his most significant contributions to the health and well-being of the American soldier. He suggested many improvements in the evacuation and hospital practices of the time. Some of his suggestions resulted in the AMEV (American Medical Evacuation Vehicle) and MASH (Mobile Auxiliary Surgical Hospitals). His advocacy for either quick evacuation or immediate treatment for wounded soldiers underlies modern military medical doctrine.
After the war Hendricks returned to Eaton where his family awaited prior to returning to El Paso. Once there he became owner and operator of a very successful medical facility (The Hendricks Sanatorium). He continued to serve in the Army Reserve and was promoted to full Colonel. He commanded the 315th Medical Regiment and put forth the idea that blood type should be included on the “Dog Tags” worn by millions of service personnel.
Hendricks’ career included many professional contributions. He was president of the El Paso Medical Society, a founder of the Federation of American Sanatoria, a founder of the American College of Chest Physicians, and executive director of the Common Cold Foundation. His El Paso community service included involvements in Kiwanis, Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, American Legion, VFW, and the American Red Cross.
He returned to his love of football as fundraiser and leader for the Athletic Council of the Texas College of Mining and volunteer team doctor. Along with a group of Kiwanians he worked to develop a charity football game to be played by high school teams in El Paso. His recommended name for the game was “The Sun Bowl,” a title that continued as Hendricks worked to expand the event to the collegiate level to raise more money for more charities. The Sun Bowl is the second oldest Bowl, second only to The Rose Bowl. Hendricks served as director general of the Sun Bowl for ten years and was Grand Marshall of the parade in 1952. In 1953, the Sun Bowl Association created the Dr. C. M. Hendricks Most Valuable Player Award in his honor.
Dr. Hendricks and his beloved wife are buried in the Fort Bliss National Cemetery.
Clarence Irvin Kesler 1882 — 1975
Chief Machinist’s Mate Clarence Irvin Kesler was presented the Navy Cross by the President of the United States for distinguished service in the line of his profession as a member of the crew of the Seaplane NC-1 which made a long overseas flight from Newfoundland to the vicinity of the Azores in May 1919. His actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
The Navy’s purpose in developing the flying boat was to provide a long-range aerial surveillance capability to detect and bomb German U-boats during World War I. The war ended before a prototype was finished, but the project was continued with a trans-ocean goal. A competition amongst major countries for a financial prize served as incentive to the United States and a source of pride in scientific accomplishment.
Participating in this “history-making episode” and a major test of new age equipment led to his Navy Cross. Kesler also received the Order of the Tower and Sword medallion from the King of Portugal along with all the crew members of the first transatlantic flight. It is the highest honor that Portugal gives to non-citizens. In this episode Kesler was serving as a Chief Special Mechanic aboard one of the Curtiss Flying Boats (nicknamed “Nancy’s”).
Kesler received other recognition for his involvement in the Navy’s testing the feasibility of using a plane to launch torpedoes against ships while he was assigned to Torpedo Squadron One. He was also given recognition for saving the trapped pilot of a plane that went down during one of the test flights over the Chesapeake Bay.
Kesler entered Navy in 1905 and the Navy aviation branch in 1913. Prior to the Nancy flight he was enrolled in a post-graduate aeronautics course at Harvard University. He also was assigned to the Curtiss factory to participate in construction of the flying boats and to learn details of the Liberty engine for which he was given a complete set of service tools.
In a letter to his mother from Plymouth, England, a month after the historic flight, Kesler says, “I have now spent nearly 15 years in the government’s services and always hoped that I would do something that old Preble would be proud of me.”
Born in Eaton to Samuel Martin and Mary Jane Kayler Kesler, Clarence was the eighth of eleven children. Before moving to 84 North Barron Street in Eaton, the family lived in Monroe Township in Section 34 on a farm located on what is now Orphans Road.
In visiting his brothers in Eaton in 1919 he declared that he was not ready to retire quite yet (eligible in two years) but that he looked forward to visiting in Eaton again for as long as he wants “without being hampered by leaves of absence, furloughs and the like, and that he might in the end just decide to pass the remainder of his days in old Preble county, his birthplace and the garden spot of the universe.” (Palladium Item and Sun-Telegram July 16, 1919).
Kesler married Orpha Mae Kimbrough of Karlstad MN on November 28, 1923 while in the USN Air Service in Washington DC. He retired from the Navy in 1924 with the rank of Chief Aviation Pilot (CAP) Navy Number 21. Subsequently he was a chicken rancher near Osteen FL where he owned and operated the Olustee Big Store which included a convenience store, gas station, and the OK Lunch Room which his wife managed. He joined the Pan American Airways System in December 1928 and spent his career stationed in Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela, Mexico and elsewhere while his family resided in Miami FL. Three sons (Edwin, Ernald, and Alfred) are veterans of WWII and son Alfred was appointed a naval aviation cadet.
James Edward Quinn 1920 — 1997
James Edward Quinn is a descendant of one of the earliest settlers of Preble County. His ancestors arrived in Ohio in 1805 and moved to what is now Preble County in 1807. The family has been here ever since. The first Quinn family built a house on what is now Quinn Road which was named after their family. Quinn himself had a long and varied life. He was a charter member of the Preble County Historical Society where he volunteered as a member of the board of trustees. He was a trail blazer, guide and nature hike leader, and planted wildflowers and built bluebird boxes. He also donated many items of historical significance to the Society. Among these are a textile quilt with pieces that originated as premiums in NEBO Tobacco products and sown by Quinn’s aunt, benches from the Friendship Church, various birth and christening certificates, several rifles, clothing and books, pencil drawing of Arthur St. Clair, paintings by Elizabeth Mulhoffer and Laura Hunt, doll’s furniture, 1892 typewriter, and many other items.
Quinn was active in his community. He served as the representative of the Village of West Alexandria on the Republican Central Committee for fifteen years. He and his wife Phyllis co-chaired the West Alexandria celebration of the United States Bicentennial in 1976. He was a Village Council member and as Village Marshall he used his own car for work around the village. He also worked as a school bus driver. He was a member of the Salem Lutheran Church where he sang in the church choir, the Rod & Gun Club, American Legion Post 322, and the West Alexandria Lions Club where in 1968 he suggested that the Club make and sell Apple Butter at the Oktoberfest, a tradition that continues to this year!
Quinn also was a member of the Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm. He volunteered for many activities, taught classes, and led field trips, all of which demonstrated his love of nature and his knowledge of birds and flowers.
As a fifth generation Preble Countian, Quinn embraced his heritage and maintained memberships in both the Preble County Genealogical Society and the Ohio Genealogical Society. In 1992 Quinn was inducted into the “First Families of Preble County, Ohio” by the Ohio Genealogical Society. This recognition was awarded to Quinn as a descendant of a settler who lived in Preble County in 1820 or earlier.
Professionally, Quinn worked as construction inspector for the Ohio Department of Transportation for 22 years. He also worked at the water treatment plants in Eaton and West Alexandria and at Screw Products, now known as Parker Hannifin. He owned and/or operated several businesses in West Alexandria including antique stores and a sporting goods store. He also worked as a salesman at an auto dealership.
Quinn served his country in the National Guard from Eaton for five years and in the Army 147th Infantry 3rd Battalion during World War II including service in the South Pacific. He was Platoon Sergeant, combat infantry, and carbine sharpshooter. He served in the battles of Guadalcanal and Bismarck Archipelago. He received two bronze stars, a good conduct medal, and the American Defense Service Medal.
He is survived by his son Robert Allen Quinn (Debora Pedigo) of West Alexandria and his stepdaughter Susan Rae Fieder (Robert) Carico of Eaton. He also is survived by three grandchildren – James Lacey Quinn (Alicia) of Eaton, Robert Arlo Quinn (Kristi) of Beavercreek, and Kathryn Kaylene Carico Mowry (Charlie) of Elmhurst IL, and seven great- grandchildren.
Past inductees include: William Bruce, Cornelius Van Ausdal, Sarah Elizabeth Daughtery Reynolds, Chester (Chet) and Mary Palmer Wagner, Timothy H. Miller, Rosetta “Rosie” McNees, Silas Dooley Sr., Dorothy Kiracofe, Alfred Horatio Upham Ph. D., Martha A. Rizert Dye, Jo Ann Lange and William E. Lange, Cyrena Van Gorden, Ione Sell Hiestand, Lucile Petry Leone, Marian M. Mitchell & James W. Mitchell, Nathaniel Benjamin, Harvey Hiestand, Thomas McQuiston, Clarence Oldfather and Harold Sell, Richard Tuggle, Helend and M. Heber Felton, Andrew Harris, Seth S. Schlotterbeck, Sara Swartsel, Billy J. “Bill” Sewert, Irene Hardy and Larry A. Hart.
Anyone wishing to do so can make a nomination to the Hall of Honor by visiting the Preble County Historical Society’s web site at www.preblecountyhistoricalsociety.com and downloading an application to complete and submit. You also may email the Society at email@example.com or call the Society at 937-787-4256 and leave a message requesting a nomination form.
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